Jim Biddulph & 2LG in conversation
Were you to ask Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe where they might be in 15 years time back in the mid-00’s you would likely have been met with an answer that positioned them somewhere in the world of the performing arts. They may not have anticipated it back then, but the South London creative duo have established themselves as part of a design elite here in the UK and are a go-to when it comes to stylish and contemporary loveable and liveable spaces and unique interior product ranges.
Both trained in the arts, Russell in Musical theatre and Jordan in Performing Arts and both enjoyed life as actors in the West End and on TV for a decade. But together in 2014 they founded 2LG, their next calling within the world of interiors and have never looked back since.
In that short space of time they’ve achieved much and yet have never rested on the laurels of each success. They will soon be launching their second rug with Floor Story at London Design Festival, having previously created The Slice chair, a re-imagining of the iconic design for Ligne Roset, as well as creating the Rise Collection for John Lewis Hungerford and the Stanley Table with surface designer Olivia Aspinall.
All of this alongside an ever expanding list of unique interior design projects as well as their own home, an ongoing project of discovery and bold design decisions that they call The Design House.
I caught up with them to find out al little more about their design process as well as some of their latest launches.
JB: I was scrolling though Instagram the other day and was stopped in my tracks by Pride, your collaboration with UK furniture manufacturer Ercol – tell me more!
2LG: Ercol approached us about working with them on a limited edition of their iconic loveseat for Pride. We are auctioning off 3 of the pieces for Charities to help promote LGBTQ+ equality.
We had previously met the Ercol team on a factory visit and had written a piece about them, but this was the perfect opportunity to work with them further. We took the idea of a rainbow and gave it our 2LG twist with our signature colour palette, as if the love seat had been to the Pride parade itself and had returned in full colour.
Each piece is unique as we designed different positions/proportions for each of the colours in our chosen palette. They are all hand painted, showing the skill of the sprayer as the colours blend. Pride has always been important and now it feels more so than ever in this increasingly hostile situation, with hate crimes on the rise.
JB: It’s not the first collaboration you’ve been involved in, I can think of your work with Custhom and surface designer Olivia Aspinall straight off the top of my head. Some designers might not be so keen to work with others, so what’s the thought process there?
2LG: Collaboration is such a key element to our work. Our previous training and subsequent careers as actors were all about collaboration. Theatre is a hugely collaborative art form. So it was natural to us to work in this way as designers. We love to test boundaries and try new things. Collaboration can be so creative and take you in unexpected directions. We remain open working in different areas of design and in work, as in our life, we refuse to be put in a box.
JB: You have a number of your own products now, how have these ranges developed and do you see them as separate to your Interior Design practice?
2LG: They are separate in as much as it is a new way for you to engage with our design work, but totally a part of our interior design work as they have been born out of it. We design product that we can’t find when specifying for projects. We design product to fill a gap but also based on the people we meet.
By this we mean that we often meet new designers or more established teams and there is a spark of something – a friendship or a creative spark. So we like to be open to this and we love nurturing those connections with people we love. To date we have never worked with anyone who we don’t like. Much of the product has also been born specifically out of our Design House project, our “slow” interior process involving our own home, which has been our muse and our platform for expressing who we are as designers.
JB: You’ve never shied away from using your own home to promote your work, was this a difficult decision? How did it come about?
2LG: Oh not difficult at all! It was very deliberate on our part. Some of the greatest interior designers in history began with their own homes. It’s a bit like writers who are told to “write what they know”.
What better place to begin than your own space? We love to design for our clients, but we wanted to have the freedom to design for us too. The house has been a huge influence to our direction. The patterns we have found inside, the old carpets, the vibe and atmosphere.
We live in a digital world now and people want to share in each other’s lives on Instagram etc. We are open to that and love showing that there is a dusty messy phase behind every image we share. Showing our process has been really liberating.